Late last year, my great friend Rob Fisher sent me a book called The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann. The book’s subtitle is A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea which immediately intrigued me. I don’t remember where or why he found it, but he said that the message in the book reminded him of me. At the time, I had recently started reading so I put it next on my list and a year later, I am still glad I did.
The message in the book is very simple: the more you give, the more you get.
In the story, the protagonist, Joe, is in sales and is racing towards a deadline to make his numbers, but he doesn’t think he will reach his goals. He discusses his situation with one of the more experienced sales people in his office who suggests he meets with a mentor, The Chairman.
The Chairman agrees to help Joe, but only under some very specific requirements. He will give him one lesson each day and by the time they meet next, he will have had to put that lesson into practice. At the end of the five days, and the book, The Chairman has taught Joe five key lessons:
1. Value: Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.
2. Compensation: Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.
3. Influence: Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people's interests first.
4. Authenticity: The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.
5. Receptivity: The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.
While I tend to keep the first four in the front of my mind, the fifth one is my most challenging. As I embark on a new direction in my career, I have tried to be more receptive to others helping me as I would them.
I enjoyed the book so much that I bought a copy for each member of my team last year and ten random people on Facebook. While I didn’t specifically require them to gift it forward, I suggested that if they enjoyed it, that they share the book rather than let it sit on their shelf. As I contemplated what I should do for my new team at the holidays, I decided to buy another ten copies and give it as a holiday gift.
To date, I have given this book to over thirty people. That’s how much I value the message.
At some point, I will encourage my kids to read it. My oldest daughter struggled with the first night of Hanukkah this year. She was a bit concerned with comparing her gifts to the ones her siblings received. I tried to explain to her that she should be rooting for them and not comparing the gifts in some sort of contest. I tried to teach her that finding joy in giving and being genuinely happy for others is more fulfilling than anything you can ever have or receive.
While she’s only ten years old, if I can teach her that lesson before it’s all said and done, I will have succeeded as a parent.
In the interest of giving this holiday season, if you would like to read the book, I am happy to buy it for you. The first ten people who reach out either via email, Twitter, LinkedIn, or otherwise will receive a copy on me.